Monday, August 23, 2010

Stephen Harper Has Clearly Given up on Quebec

I guess Stephen Harper has accepted that he will never get a majority, with or without Quebec, so instead he's simply trying to avoid an election, terrified at having to face a now very angry electorate.

Marc Garneau says that it's been exactly 100 days since the PM has bothered with the province. There is just too large a divide between his ideology and this progressive province.
Stephen Harper hasn’t bothered to appear before Quebecers for exactly 100 days and Marc Garneau, Liberal Leader Michael Ignatieff’s representative in Quebec, thinks he knows why.

“Stephen Harper has clearly given up on Quebec,” said Marc Garneau. “On issues like the use of the French language in the Supreme Court, funding for culture and marquee artistic events that contribute to our presence on the international scene, saving the firearms registry, protecting the environment, respecting public servants, or a woman’s right to choose, the Conservatives' retrograde policies simply run counter to the Quebec consensus.” Indeed, it has been exactly 100 days since Stephen Harper last made a public appearance in Quebec, and his vacation at Harrington Lake, just a few minutes away from his official residence in Ottawa, doesn’t count.
And Chantal Hebert believes that the Liberals have a shot at rebuilding their base there.
Ipsos pollster John Wright thinks the Liberals, the Conservatives and the NDP may all be wasting their time in Quebec these days. Given the Bloc Québécois’s enduring dominance of the province, he wonders why any of the other parties should bother with Quebec. A short answer might be that 62 per cent of Quebecers voted for parties other than the Bloc in the last federal election, up from 58 per cent in 2006.

Given the way pollsters and columnists routinely talk about the Bloc as if it owned Quebec, one might be forgiven for believing that the sovereignist party alone commands an audience in the province. In fact, the party has not carried a majority of the popular vote in any of the six campaigns it has fought over its 20-year existence.

Michael Ignatieff’s 14 Quebec MPs make up the second-largest provincial group in his caucus after Ontario. That number may not look like much when it is stacked up against Quebec’s 75-seat total but it is more than the sum of the ridings of any Atlantic province.
No prime minister, or anyone wanting to be prime minister, should give up on any part of Canada.

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